persephone maiden [april 2010]
formidable, venerable, majestic

model: Alexandria Tuel

"I heard a footfall of the flower spring...."
Coming to bloom amidst the memory of death- longing for Mother and Earth. Persephone.

this shoot was inspired by and is a visual interpretation of the greek myth of Persephone, Maiden of the Spring & Queen of the Underworld.

Dearest Alex, you are the bomb. Thank you for letting me boss you around that one day and for making time for this.

(some of the notes & research for shoot...what alex read)

[I'm going to start by just outlining and summarizing the story of persephone and the personalities of both her and her mother greek goddess Demeter.

"Out of all the greek gods, Demeter (goddess of the corn, daughter of Cronus and Rhea whose chief festival was the harvest) and Bacchus (god of wine) are the only suffering gods. The other immortal gods were untouched by grief, but because these two were the divinities of Earth, they knew heart-rending grief. The Olympians were the "happy gods", the "deathless gods", far removed from suffering mortals destined to die. But in their grief and at the hour of death, men could turn for compassion to the goddess who sorrowed and the goddess (Persephone) who died every time to returned to her husband Hades in the underworld. "

Although Persephone did not necessarily inherit the Earth divinity grief that her mom was burdened with, she was never the same joyous, young creature after she was taken to the underworld. She did rise from the dead every spring, but she brought with her the memory of where she had come from: with all her bright beauty there was something strange and awesome about her.

This is important because since you're playing her, you have to manifest all of these complex aspects of her psyche and emotional personality.

In the stories of both goddesses, Demeter and Persephone, the idea of sorrow was foremost. Persephone was the radiant maiden of the spring and the summertime, whose light step upon the dry, brown hillside was enough to make it fresh and blooming.

So the story goes…

"One day as Persephone strayed too far from her companions, enticed by the wondrous bloom of the narcisses flower, Hades (god of the undersold), carried her weeping off by the wrists into the underworld. Demeter heard her cried in the high hills and in the depths of the sea and sped over the sea and land seeking her daughter for nine days. No one would tell her the truth about what happened. During this time, Demeter refused to yield the harvest and the world became dark, icy, and barren. That year was the most deadfall and cruel for mankind over all the earth. Finally, Zeus had to take action because he couldn't let mankind die of famine. So he sent his messenger Hermes to the underworld to retrieve Persephone. When Hermes appeared, Persephone was eager and happy because she knew this would mean that should would be returning to Earth and to the mother, plus she knew Hades had to obey the word of Zeus. He wished Persephone that she would have kind thoughts of him and not be so sorrowful- that she was the wife of one who was great among the immortals. And he made her eat a pomegranate seed, knowing in his heart that if she did so she must return to him (he tricked her). FInally she returned to Earth and to her mother's arms and they told each other their stories. Then Zeus then sent another messenger to Demeter, Rhea. She told that Persephone must go back to the underworld to her husband, but that she would return. She told Demeter that she must lose her 4 months out of the year to Hades. "

In imagery, flowers, florals, springtime is symbolic of Persephone. Last semester, when i took a Hitchcock film studies class, it was one of his favorite repeated themes- the Persephone theme. The main female protagonist of the movies were shown dressed in floral dresses, in floral wallpaper rooms, and followed by passionate colored sets- red represented love and green represented passion and inhibited desire. The theme of Persephone in film dealt with a young, beautiful lady who was blooming into womanhood. Her dilemma always was within a love triangle. Would she choose the adventurous man with an uncertain future- who was risky and charming, or would she choose the safe and secured man whom she would be destined to repeat the life of her parents. The persephone theme dealt with a young, beautiful lady who needed to be saved from her hell/from her Hades. She always matured at the end of the movie.

Persephone was both the maiden of spring and the queen of the dead (Hades was King but was NOT death). So you can definitely say that she has a bipolar lifestyle. The composition of the photos are going to involved flowers one way or another in every shot. The background is important, but more important is your role and your facial and body expressions. I leave it open to you to interpret how you should feel and what emotions you should portrayed as the model. You are Persephone. How do you feel about your husband? Does your wrist still hurt? Do you miss your mother? How you feel about being both queen of the damned and maiden of the spring and summer time? Do you regret anytime? Are you happy? All this and more should be expressed in you as the model..... ]


* not for sale
** digital
*** edited hardcore

All other photographs are available for purchase as single high resolution prints or framed compositions. Sizes and dimensions of print vary depending on the photograph, but most can be printed in sizes between 4" x 6" to canvas gallery wrapped 40" x 60". Turnaround is between 3-6 weeks. Email for prices. If interested, please contact me and we will talk it out!

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